Golden State wasted a season-high 38 points from Stephen Curry as it fought its way, quite literally, to a 108-97 loss at Indiana.
Indiana was in control, up 95-85 with 6:22 left in the game, when things got ugly.
David Lee and Roy Hibbert were jockeying for position under the basket when Hibbert took exception. After a foul was called on Andris Biedrins, Hibbert shoved Lee and things escalated from there.
The fight started under the basket, but ended up in the corner and started to spill into the crowd. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Curry was knocked down at least twice by Hibbert (7-foot-2, 280 pounds), who received a pair of technical fouls and was ejected.
"Seriously, I didn’t even feel him,” Hibbert said. “He ran on me and I just … I don’t know. It’s between me and David Lee and (Curry) wants to get involved. I’m the type of person that … I don’t want to start anything with someone that’s smaller than me. I don’t take pride in tossing the little guy to the side.”
In all, three double technical fouls were issued. In addition to Hibbert, Klay Thompson, Curry, Lee and Indiana’s David West received the others. No players came off the bench to take part.
Curry brushed aside the incident as a result of circumstances.
“Teams are gearing up for playoff basketball and amping up the intensity a little bit and it’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s healthy just to not back down and be physical. You don’t like to see that tussle happen in the game, but for the most part it was a good clean, physical game that we have to expect for the rest of the year.”
Curry was the only consistent scoring threat for the Warriors. He hit 14-of-20 shots from the field, including 7-of-10 from deep, to come within four of his career high (42).
“Curry is the best shooter in the NBA so he’s going to make baskets, but I thought we did a good job on those other guys,” West said.
That they did.
Outside of Curry, the Warriors (33-24) combined to go just 19-of-56 (33.9 percent) from the field. They had even more trouble taking care of the ball.
Much like Sunday against Minnesota when the Timberwolves scored 32 points off 22 Warriors turnovers, Golden State was erratic on offense. It committed 20 turnovers, which led to 29 points for Indiana (36-21).
“We were careless with the basketball,” coach Mark Jackson said. “We got away with it in Minnesota the other night, but, truth be told, this is a different basketball team, a better team and we paid the price tonight.”
For Curry, who committed a team-high six turnovers, the sloppy play has been frustrating.
“You can’t do that on the road if you’re trying to win,” he said. “We’ve tried to make that a point of emphasis for us on this road trip. To really value the ball and take every possession and try to get a good shot, but for some reason it hasn’t really clicked yet.”
After a three from Thompson made it 65-64 Pacers with 7:01 left in the third, the Pacers went on a 13-0 run over the next 3:55 to take control.
Golden State wouldn’t recover.
Jarrett Jack, who had been the team’s hottest player, didn’t score his first bucket until the 1:55 mark of the third quarter when he hit a three to make it single-digit deficit at 78-69. To that point, Jack had three assists, three turnovers and committed three fouls.
Curry was nearly unstoppable in the first half, scoring 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field, including 4-of-4 from deep.
The play that stood out, however, came when Curry went at George Hill. A crossover from Curry left Hill essentially sitting on the floor, from where he fouled Curry going to the basket.
Golden State trailed by as many as 11 in the second quarter, but closed the gap to 54-53 by halftime. Curry scored nine of the Warriors final 11 points in the half as they closed on a 12-2 run.
Indiana came into the game allowing an NBA-low 89.4 points per game.
The Pacers lead the NBA in rebounds per game (46.0), but the Warriors held their own on the glass, actually out rebounding Indiana 46-42.
West (28 points), George Hill (23) and Paul George (21) all had big games for Indiana.
- The Warriors scored a season-low 16 points in the paint.
- Andris Biedrins had a season-high three blocks in 18 minutes.
- David Lee registered his league-leading 37th double-double. He finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
- Andrew Bogut (back spasms) missed his third game in a row.
- Lee bruised his left shoulder in the second quarter and is questionable for Wednesday's game at New York.
#WarriorsTalk Tweet of the Game
This tweet following the fight summed it up pretty well:
What. Just. Happened? #WarriorsTalk— Warrior's Fan (@GSDubsTalk) February 27, 2013
Next up -- New York
Golden State gets right back at it Wednesday at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, who snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday at home against Philadelphia.
After starting the year 18-5, the Knicks have played .500 ball over the last 30 games.
The Warriors have had a lot of success against New York in recent years. They’ve won 15 of the last 19 games with the Knicks and haven’t lost at the Garden since 2008 – although, the teams did not play in New York last season.
It’ll be a homecoming of sorts for Jackson – for the second consecutive day – who was drafted 18th overall by the Knicks in the NBA Draft. Jackson spent his first six years in the NBA with the Knicks and later rejoined the team from 2000-2002.
Warriors forward David Lee played five seasons with the Knicks from 2005 to 2010. Since being traded to the Warriors for Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike as a part of a sign-and-trade, Lee has appeared in two games against his former team, averaging 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in a pair of Warriors wins.